Today (October 28, 2016): October luxury travel news.
Every last Friday of the month, you can read my news round-up of what’s happening in the world of luxury travel. In this issue:
- Six Senses opens its ultraluxe Seychelles property
- Austrian Airlines starts flying to the Seychelles
- Four Seasons Kyoto (Japan) is now open
- Singapore Airlines (re)launches non-stop USA service
- Anantara Kalutara resort opens in Sri Lanka
- British Airways to launch New Orleans route
- W Hotels debuts in the United Arab Emirates
- Qatar Airways launches new First Class amenity kit
- Milaidhoo to open next month in the Maldives
- Airbus celebrates the delivery of its 10,000th aircraft
1. Six Senses opens its ultraluxe Seychelles property
The ultraluxe Six Senses Zil Pasyon – where I am staying right now – is located on the island of Félicité, one of the most dramatically beautiful and unspoiled islands of the 115-island nation that is the Seychelles. With massive granite boulders fringing the shoreline and picture perfect beaches it is the island’s dramatic beauty that make it the perfect private island escape. True to Six Senses heritage of creating exceptional guest experiences in places of incredible beauty, the resort occupies just one-third of the island’s land total – the rest is left to the beauty of nature and wildlife. The resort includes 28 one-bedroom pool villas and a couple of two-bedroom pool villas ranging from 2,150 square feet (200 square meters) to 5,380 square feet (500 square meters) plus 17 private residences. Six Senses Zil Pasyon offers six dining and bar venues on the island, sport and leisure facilities, three pristine sandy beaches and an outdoor main pool. I will publish my review soon (December 2016).
2. Austrian Airlines flies to the Seychelles
There is some more exciting news for the Seychelles. Austrian Airlines will initiate flight service to the paradise islands starting with its winter 2017/18 flight schedule. As of October 25, 2017, it will fly a Boeing 767-300ER non-stop every Wednesday from Vienna to the vacation island in the Indian Ocean, returning to Vienna on Thursdays. “Demand for direct flights to long-haul tourist destinations is high. We responded: In addition to Mauritius, Colombo and Havana, the Seychelles represent our fourth new destination within a period of only two years”, says Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto. As a result, Austrian Airlines will offer a total of five long-haul tourist destinations in its winter 2017/18 flight schedule. Up to two flights per week will be operated to both Mauritius and the Maldives. Austrian Airline will also operate one direct flight each week to Colombo, Havana and the Seychelles. Business Class on Austrian’s B767s is similar to the one on its B777 fleet, which I reviewed in the following clip:
3. Four Seasons Kyoto (Japan) is now open
The new Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto is a contemporary, luxury oasis in Japan’s capital of culture. With a famed, 800-year-old ikeniwa (pond garden) at its heart, hotel guests will experience authentic Japanese traditions in chic 21st Century style. They’ll relax in one of the 123 spacious accommodations with beautiful views across temple rooftops and elegant gardens, including 13 glamorous suites for the ultimate in luxury and personalised service. Set at the foot of Higashiyama Mountain in Kyoto’s district of temples, the hotel is a sanctuary of space minutes from the city’s cultural treasures and the bustle of downtown. With Tokyo just 140 minutes away by Shinkansen, guests can also extend their visit with a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, allowing the famous Four Seasons brand to take care of them from start to finish.
4. Singapore Airlines (re)launches non-stop USA service
On October 23, Singapore Airlines began non-stop, daily flights between Singapore and San Francisco using an Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Flying time for the new Singapore-San Francisco services is between 14:35hrs and 17:45hrs depending on direction and time of year, over a journey of around 13,600km (8450 miles). This flight is currently the longest flight in Singapore Airline’s network until 2018, when a new variant of the A350-900 will enter service, enabling the restart of the even longer flights between Singapore and both Los Angeles and New York (which were cancelled in 2013 because these routes proved to be non-profitable with the Airbus A340-500s). Singapore Airlines will be the launch customer for the new variant, the A350-900ULR, with seven of the type on order.
5. Anantara Kalutara resort opens in Sri Lanka
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has opened its second resort in Sri Lanka, a peacefully secluded hideaway located along the island’s southwest coast. Only ten minutes from the town of Kalutara and an hour south of the capital Colombo, Anantara Kalutara has a unique setting between the Indian Ocean and Kalu River and boasts coastal, river and lagoon frontage. All 141 guest rooms, suites and pool villas immerse guests in stunning views, with private balconies and terraces overlooking lush gardens, the ocean or lagoon. All guest rooms come with a wine humidor as standard and interconnecting, disabled and poolside guest rooms are available. Suites are set apart by an elegant lounge and the one-of-a-kind One Bedroom Presidential Suite boasts a private plunge pool and sundeck. The resort has two swimming pools, a fantastic spa and a choice of three restaurants.
6. British Airways to launch New Orleans route
The Big Easy’ will soon be easier to reach than ever before with British Airways‘ new route to New Orleans. From March 27, 2017 British Airways will launch a four times a week service from Heathrow and will be the only airline flying direct between Europe and the Louisiana city. The route will be operated by a three-class Boeing 787-8, with return fares in World Traveller starting from £599, £899 in World Traveller Plus and £1749 in Club World. The flights will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with the BA225 departing from London Heathrow at 3:40pm and arriving in to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport at 7:40pm, while the BA224 will leave New Orleans at 9:10pm, arriving into London at 12:00 noon the next day.
7. W Hotels debuts in the United Arab Emirates
W Hotels opened the W Dubai, the brand’s first hotel in the Emirate. Owned by the Al Habtoor Group, the design-led lifestyle brand is set to shake up the destination with its rooftop W Lounge, pulsating “WET” pool deck and innovative fashion and music happenings. The opening marks the W brand’s second outpost in the Middle East, following the debut of W Doha in 2009. Set within the ambitious Al Habtoor City project, the Emirate’s first fully-integrated urban resort, W Dubai – Al Habtoor City rises 33 stories above the vibrant Sheikh Zayed Road, overlooking the newly built Dubai Water Canal with views of dramatic sunsets over the Arabian Gulf. Upon arrival, guests are whisked up 30 floors to the W Lounge (the W brand’s reinterpretation of the staid hotel lobby) where a jaw-dropping, panoramic view of the shimmering city awaits.
8. Qatar Airways launches new First Class amenity kit
Qatar Airways, in partnership with Giorgio Armani, has launched its newly designed range of luxurious Giorgio Armani Fragrances and Beauty amenity kits, available to First Class passengers on select A380 flights. Designed exclusively for Qatar Airways, the First Class amenity kits are designed in timeless black, the signature colour of Giorgio Armani, and feature golden accents reflecting the latest Giorgio Armani Fall-Winter 2016-2017 collection. Ladies travelling with Qatar Airways will receive a stylish Giorgio Armani Fragrances and Beauty amenity kit that doubles up as make-up or jewellery bag post-flight, while gentlemen will receive a smart travel bag made with a ribbed fabric that reflects the latest trends in male style and luxury. Whether travelling for business or leisure, passengers will find the amenity kits meet both their in-flight and post-flight needs.
9. Milaidhoo to open next month in the Maldives
Milaidhoo, due to open its doors next month, promises its guests a new chapter of barefoot island living on its boutique 13 acre island set in the heart of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Baa Atoll region of the Maldives. Perfectly located to offer the best of the Maldives to its discerning guests, Milaidhoo offers a return to a classic, relaxed Maldivian holiday style on a tiny island with deep soft white sand beaches and a vibrant coral reef where dolphins, whale sharks and manta rays are visitors – a benefit of being in a protected marine area. Standing on stilts over the lagoon are 30 spacious over-water villas (2,600 square feet) and hidden amongst the tropical greenery are 20 serene villas on the beach (3,100 square feet). All villas have large private freshwater swimming pools and an island host to attend to the guests’ every whim. This private, luxury island is reached by a scenic 30-minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport.
10. Airbus celebrates the delivery of its 10,000th aircraft
Airbus celebrated the delivery of its 10,000th aircraft – an A350-900 for Singapore Airlines. The milestone event was marked by a special ceremony in Toulouse hosted by Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders and attended by Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines. Airbus delivered its first aircraft, an A300B2, to Air France on 10 May 1974. Initially working exclusively in the widebody sector with the A300 and A310, the manufacturer moved into the single aisle market in the mid-1980s with the launch of the best-selling A320. Setting new standards in aircraft design, technologies introduced on the A320 were subsequently incorporated on the A330 and A340 in the early 1990s, marking the first time that single aisle and widebody aircraft benefitted from similar operational characteristics. This high level of design commonality is unique to Airbus aircraft types and has been retained across the company’s product line ever since, including on the double deck A380 and the all-new long range A350 XWB which entered service last year.